SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – As officials with the United Nations Civil Society Conference sound the alarm on climate change, state and city leaders in Utah forge ahead with possible solutions.
Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski addressed the issue center stage on Tuesday at the UN Conference and Senator Mitt Romney spoke on the topic during a town hall event at Weber State University.
Biskupski on how climate change is affecting Utah…
“We know that the state is warming at twice the global rate and what we’re witnessing first-hand are significant storms, fires and losing our snowpack which is our water resource and that is moving quickly. We’ve lost five-weeks of snowpack in the last 20 years and that’s a great concern to us as a water provider in Salt Lake City.”
Biskupski on people needing to do their part…
“Stop opening the plastic bottles and stop buying things in plastic bottles. That is a simple step people can be taking.” … “It’s about maybe not driving one day and using your bike, or using one an electric bike, or using one of the scooters. These are cleaner transportation opportunities. Also, we’re building as many bike lanes as we can and as quickly as we can. We’re also bringing in the fleet of UTA electric buses for Salt Lake City. If you can, get an electric car. We have more charging stations than we’ve ever had.”
Biskupki on politics and climate change…
“A lot still needs to be done. Mayors are understanding this at a tremendous level. We are working together — it doesn’t matter what party you’re affiliated with. All the mayors are getting it and we need help from the federal level.”
Romney on being one of the few Republicans to speak out in support of climate change…
“I believe we’re seeing the warming of the planet and we’re seeing the warming here in Utah. It’s a long process of course but I think we have to look at it and say, what can we do globally to reduce the amount of emissions that are contributing to this climate change. It’s not something that the United States alone can solve because most of the emissions are coming from developing countries like China, India, and Brazil. But we are the center of innovation and technology and I think it’s innovations and breakthroughs that I think are going to be necessary for us to prevent the kind of warming many people are concerned about.”
Romney on what he can help do on the federal level to combat climate change…
The two things that I think can be done at the federal level, where I as a senator might have some influence, would be, one, in the area of research. We should be providing substantial research to universities and think tanks and various national labs to continue to develop new technologies for solar, wind, nuclear power, for transmissions, for batteries — all these technologies — so it’s funding those things. And secondly, looking for ways to create incentives for the private sector to do so. That is something I am studying. How can we get private companies to become more interested in these new technologies and these breakthroughs because only technology will solve the climate issue I think is coming down the road.”
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